Refugee flows re­main a con­cern

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

As the last of the refugees and mi­grants stranded at the port of Pi­raeus were bused yes­ter­day to or­ga­nized ac­com­mo­da­tion shel­ters of their choice around the coun­try,

au­thor­i­ties are re­port­edly con­cerned by the con­tin­ued flow of asy­lum seek­ers to the is­lands.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est of­fi­cial data, there were 9,140 refugees and mi­grants on the is­lands of the east­ern Aegean yes­ter­day, while 100 more ar­rived through­out the day. This is a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease com­pared to the 8,475 on July 13, when ar­rivals be­gan to pick up again at a daily rate of be­tween 40 and 120 peo­ple.

The sit­u­a­tion has been fur­ther com­pounded by the failed coup at­tempt in Turkey and its af­ter­math, which, au­thor­i­ties say, has prac­ti­cally “frozen” the re­turn of refugees to the neigh­bor­ing coun­try.

This has re­sulted in over­crowd­ing at hotspots across the is­lands of the east­ern Aegean. The two hotp­sots of Mo­ria and Kara Tepe on Lesvos, for in­stance, are cur­rently host­ing 3,800 refugees and mi­grants – above their to­tal ca­pac­ity of 3,500.

On Chios, the makeshift hotspot of Vial, built for 1,100 peo­ple, is ac­com­mo­dat­ing 2,509, while the fa­cil­ity on Samos with a ca­pac­ity of 850 peo­ple, is pro­vid­ing shel­ter to 1,356 peo­ple.

There has also been a sig­nif­i­cant drop in the num­ber of pre­lim­i­nary asy­lum claims lodged by Syr­ian refugees on the is­lands be­cause many staff work­ing for the Euro­pean Asy­lum ser­vice have taken leave, au­thor­i­ties said.

Mean­while, clean­ing crews were de­ployed to spruce up the area of Pi­raeus port yes­ter­day af­ter its evac­u­a­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est data, there were 1,039 refugees at the port on Mon­day and 887 on Tues­day, while there were 426 mi­grants left yes­ter­day morning.

A po­lice of­fi­cer stands in front of the wreck­age of a for­mer or­phan­age in Ano Toumba, Thes­sa­loniki, yes­ter­day, one of sev­eral sites that Greek and for­eign an­ar­chists have been oc­cu­py­ing along with mi­grants they have hosted.

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